Saint John Harbour

Barrack Green | Carleton Martello Tower | Fort Charnissay | Courtenay Bay Battery
Dorchester Battery | Dorchester Blockhouse | Fort Drummond | Fort Dufferin | East Battery (1)
East End Barracks | Fort Frederick | Fort Howe | Johnston's Blockhouse | Fort La Tour
Lower Cove Batteries | Fort Martignon | Fort Menacoche | Fort Menagoueche | Fort Mispec
Negro Point Battery | Partridge Island Batteries | Partridge Island Blockhouses
Red Head Battery | Fort St. Jean | Saint John Ordnance Depot | Fort Ste. Marie
Camp Torryburn | Fort Villebon

Western New Brunswick - page 1 | Eastern New Brunswick - page 2


Last Update: 06/MARCH/2010
Compiled by Pete Payette - ©2010 American Forts Network

¤ Colonial Defences of Saint John
Saint John Harbour Defensive Network from Canadian Register of Historic Places

¤ Fort La Tour
(1632 - 1654), Saint John FORT WIKI
A fortified trading post located on Portland Point. Officially known as Fort Ste. Marie, it was built by Charles de Saint-Étienne de La Tour. Attacked by Scots from Port Royal, NS in 1632 under Andrew Forrester, this was the first recorded military action in present-day New Brunswick. Originally composed of only two or three wooden buildings surrounded by a palisade with V-shaped bastions on the waterfront, it was enlarged in 1639 to a 36-metre square palisaded and moated compound, with a large gatehouse on the western side, an L-shaped trading house (with a prominent yellow roof) on the northern side, and a stone bastion in the southwest corner with one six-pounder gun covering the harbour. There may have been two additional guns in redan batteries. A bakery, blacksmith shop, chapel, and storerooms made up the eastern and southern sides. In April 1645 the post was captured by Charles de Menou d'Aulnay, a rival French trader from Port Royal, NS, while La Tour was away in Boston, MA. La Tour's wife led its defence, but she eventually surrendered. All but one of its 47 defenders were executed while Madame La Tour was forced to watch. La Tour regained title to the post in 1650, but it was not rebuilt until 1653, and was attacked again by rival French forces under Emmanuel le Borgne (d'Aulnay's creditor) in 1654. It was then soon afterwards captured by the British under Major Robert Sedgewick in July 1654. The British took control of the area from 1654 to 1667, but are not known to have militarily used any of the existing French forts. Archaeological excavations of the site, off of Chelsey Drive, were done in 1955-56 and 1963. Marker located on the Harbour Passage Trail at the north end of the Saint John Harbour Bridge. See also Discover Saint

¤ Fort Frederick (National Historic Site)
(1758 - 1815), West Saint John
Originally here on Carleton Point was Fort Charnissay (1645 - 1650), built by Charles de Menou d'Aulnay after capturing Fort La Tour. Rebuilt in 1672 by Martin d'Aprendestiguy, sieur de Martignon (who had married La Tour's daughter), and renamed Fort Martignon. Fort St. Jean was built by the French in 1698 near the present-day Harbour Bridge toll plaza. Possibly also known as Fort Villebon. It was destroyed in 1700 as untenable, and all supplies were moved to Port Royal, NS. The French rebuilt Fort St. Jean in 1749, renamed Fort Menagoueche, as a 62-metre square compound with three barracks (12x7 metres), a bakery, and a powder magazine. Also spelled Menacoche. In 1754 it was reported to have only 17 men and three guns. It was burned in June 1755 to prevent British capture.

The British built Fort Frederick in 1758 on almost the same trace as Fort Menagouche. It was armed with only 18 guns, out of 30 planned. A major storm in November 1759 forced the repair of the earthen ramparts and the replacemement of the storehouse. In 1768 most of the garrison was sent to Boston, MA, leaving only five men as caretakers. The fort was attacked by American privateers in 1775, 1776, and 1777. The fort was later rebuilt in 1812 with a one-story blockhouse, magazine, and barracks for 20 men, surrounded by a square earthwork with two guns. A small plaque marking its location is found near the entrance to the toll plaza. Before the city was founded in 1785, the settlement here was known as Parrtown.

The Nova Scotia colonial government in 1760 tried to establish here a centralized trade post or factory, under military control, to regulate the region's fur trade.

¤ Fort Howe (National Historic Site)
(1777 - 1819), Saint John FORT WIKI
Originally a prefabricated blockhouse with four six-pounder guns. Enlarged in 1778 with eight guns, a detached barracks for 150 men, and surrounded by a palisade and earthworks. A second blockhouse just west and to the rear was built in 1778. A stone powder magazine was built between 1794 and 1802, located at the base of the hill on which the fort stood. The fort, just by its very presence, repelled an American privateer raid in 1778 without firing a shot. The "Lookout" was in ruins by 1812, but the barracks were refurbished and became the military headquarters of the city during the War of 1812. The barracks burned in 1819, and most of the buildings were sold at auction in 1823. The magazine and a signal station remained in use. The site of the first blockhouse is marked by a stone cairn with three Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaques. The second blockhouse is a 1967 reproduction, the original burned down sometime after WWII. Fort Howe became the first historic site in the Canadian National Park system in 1914, but was transferred to the city in 1930.

In 1939 a two-gun 13-pounder AA battery was located here.

¤ Johnston's Battery and Blockhouse
(1811 - 1820's), Saint John Centre
A two-gun earthwork battery with a wooden four-gun blockhouse, located at the rear of the town overlooking Courtenay Bay. Kept in good repair until it was abandoned. Site has been built over by development.

¤ Fort Drummond
(1812 - 1866), West Saint John
Built on a hill 1300 metres from Fort Frederick (site of a present-day water tower), and 180 metres from the future site of the Carleton Tower, covering the Musquash Road. The two-gun blockhouse was identical to the Dorchester Blockhouse at Lower Cove (see below). Ammunition was stored at the Fort Frederick magazine.

¤ Carleton Martello Tower (National Historic Site)
(1814 - 1870, 1941 - 1944), West Saint John FORT WIKI
A three-story masonry gun tower 15 metres in diameter, located about 180 metres from Fort Drummond. A magazine and storeroom were on the first floor. Three small guns were planned for the second floor through gun ports, and four guns were planned for the third floor embrasures. The tower was never initially armed due to lack of money. Two 32-pounder smoothbores were emplaced on the third story in 1866, removed in 1877. Some of the adjacent garrison buildings have been restored, such as the 1866 barracks and the 1845 powder magazine. A concrete Fire Command Post was constructed on top of the tower during World War II. Admission fee. See also Canadian Register of Historic Places - entry #1 || Canadian Register of Historic Places - entry #2

¤ Lower Cove / Barrack Green
(1793 - 1945), Saint John Centre
Built here in 1793 was Dorchester Battery (three guns) and Blockhouse (six metres square, one gun) on the southwestern tip, Mortar Battery (six-gun earthwork with hot shot furnace) about 200 metres west, Graveyard Battery (three guns) about 140 metres north of Mortar Battery, and Prince Edward Battery (five guns) about 400 metres from Graveyard Battery, further into the harbour. Prince Edward Battery was reduced to two guns in 1815, but were put in storage in 1825. Graveyard Battery was increased to four guns in 1815. Dorchester Battery was reduced to two guns in 1815. East Battery (1), a four-gun earthwork, was built in 1813 about 800 metres east of Dorchester Battery. It was abandoned in 1815, but three unmounted guns still remained on site until 1821. The batteries were refurbished in 1866 with the addition of six 8-inch guns from Partridge Island and some 32-pounders from elsewhere.
Lower Cove became the military headquarters in 1819 after a fire at Fort Howe destroyed the barracks there. The compound, known as Barrack Green, included Officers' quarters, enlisted barracks, a hospital, guardhouse, armoury, and storehouses. The last British troops left the city in 1870. A fire in 1877 destroyed the original barracks.

During World War II the Anti-Aircraft Command Post was located in the basement of the Barrack Green Armoury (built 1911). (FORT WIKI)

¤ Saint John Ordnance Depot
(1840 - 1870), Saint John Centre
Originally two stone buildings used to house weapons and ordnance stores for the British garrison in New Brunswick. Only one building still exists, located on Sydney Street on Barrack Green, renovated in 1911 and again in 1956 as barracks for HMCS Brunswicker, the New Brunswick naval reserve unit. Designated a historic site in 2008. The Naval Reserve has since moved to a new location on Chesley Drive.

¤ Camp Torryburn
(1860's - 1890's), Torryburn
A military training camp used by the British cavalry in the area of the race track in Kennebecasis Park, east of Saint John proper. Later it was used by the local militia.

Fortress Saint John by Heritage Resources Saint John and New Brunswick Community College

¤¤ Sheldon Point Dummy Battery
(Irving Nature Park)
(1940's), West Saint John
On the beach at the western end of Manawagonish Cove, below the Barn at the start of the Sheldon Point Walking Trail, are the ruins of a concrete emplacement for this decoy battery.

¤¤ Fort Dufferin
(1863 - 1905 ?, 1939 - 1946), West Saint John
Originally named Negro Point Battery until 1873. It was a 10-gun earthwork with four magazines, with a guard house, an office and a store building. Guns were not mounted until 1866. Five converted 32-pounder RML's were emplaced in 1877. The post later became a summer training camp for various Canadian militia units until the 1900's. The ruins of three gun emplacements and two magazines still exist.

In 1939 four 4.7-inch guns and four 18-pounder field guns were temporarily emplaced here in sandbag revetments. One of the 18-pounders was soon moved to the Courtenay Bay Breakwater. In 1940 two of the 4.7-inch guns were transferred elsewhere in the country, and the remaining two 4.7-inch guns were moved to concrete mounts. In 1941 a new concrete battery (still exists) was built for a new 4.7-inch gun, replacing one of the older 4.7-inch guns in the temporary mount. Two searchlights were emplaced here in concrete shelters. In 1944 concrete mounts were built for two 12-pounder guns at the northeast tip of the post (still exists).

¤¤ Partridge Island (National Historic Site)
(1800 - 1947/1956, intermittent), Partridge Island
Defences were planned here as early as 1791 but were never built. Built in 1800 were a six-gun earthwork, barracks, and a signal tower. A blockhouse was built in 1812. A second blockhouse was built in 1813 adjacent to the lighthouse. The lighthouse was converted to a 60-man barracks in 1812, with a surrounding nine-gun earthwork battery. The lighthouse battery was never armed as the guns were lost prior to arrival. Six 8-inch guns and two 68-pounders were emplaced in 1860 in the old battery. The 8-inch guns were removed in 1866 to the Lower Cove batteries. The two 68-pounders were reconditioned in 1878, with two 8-inch guns, a 32-pounder, and an 18-pounder gun added during tensions that year between Great Britain and Russia. The island also served as a major immigration quarantine station for Canada between 1830 - 1941. Some structures still remain, although most were demolished in 1955.

In 1914 a temporary battery of four 4.7-inch field guns was emplaced. Concrete mounts were built in 1915, two on the southeast shore (still exist) and two on the south-central shore. In 1917 two additional 4.7-inch guns were emplaced in a concrete battery on the northeast shore, along with two searchlights. All six guns were removed in 1919.
In 1939 two 6-inch naval guns were emplaced on concrete mounts on the south shore, along with two searchlights. In 1941 the two guns were moved to a permanent three-gun concrete battery with underground magazines (still exists). One gun position was left vacant. Overhead concrete and steel protection for the battery was built in 1942. The cover for one gun position still exists. An old 18-pounder field gun was transferred from the Courtenay Bay Breakwater in 1942 to a position on the northwest shore. Three searchlights were emplaced in concrete shelters (still exist) on the south shore. A concrete Battery Observation Post was built in 1941 (still exists). A Port War Signal Station was built here in 1939. In 1944 one of the 6-inch guns was moved back to the 1939 mount, and two twin 4-inch naval guns were emplaced on the 1941 concrete battery, using the previously vacant position. In 1945 a concrete CDX fire-control radar tower was built (still exists). The two 6-inch guns were dismantled in 1945. One of these guns, a 6-inch H.E.D.C. Mark II with the serial number 749 (1898) is on display at the entrance to the new HMCS Brunswicker headquarters at 160 Chesley Drive. The other 6-inch gun (serial numer 761) is on display at the Barrack Green Armoury (October 2011). Partridge Island remained the only active defense post after the war.

¤¤ Courtenay Bay Breakwater Battery
(1939 - 1946), East Saint John FORT WIKI
An 18-pounder field gun was temporarily emplaced here in 1939. In 1941 two searchlights were emplaced in concrete shelters. In 1942 a concrete magazine and gun platform were constructed, and a new 18-pounder quick-firing gun replaced the field gun, which was then transferred to Partridge Island. A concrete Battery Observation Post was built in 1944, resembling a lighthouse (still exists), which replaced a wooden tower (1942) which had burned down. In 1944 the 18-pounder gun was replaced by a twin 6-pounder automatic gun.

¤¤ East End Barracks
(1940's), East Saint John
The World War II era garrison post for the Harbour Defence.

¤¤ Red Head Battery
(1864 - 1890's), Red Head
A six-gun earthwork with two magazines, completed in 1866. However, the guns were not mounted until 1878 with four 32-pounder smoothbores. Still exists.
During World War I the battery position was used as a camp for the 9th Seige Battery, and in World War II a government radio station and a dummy gun position were located here.

¤¤ Fort Mispec
(1940 - 1946), Mispec
Located at Mispec Point, originally planned for three 9.2-inch guns, but replaced with three 7.5-inch naval guns, emplaced in 1940 on concrete mounts with steel shields, with three concrete magazines. Gun positions #2 and #3 still exist. Position #1, now destroyed, is on the site of the present-day Irving Canaport. The entire site was camouflaged to resemble a fishing village. A Battery Observation Post was built in 1940 on the hill behind the point (still exists). A second Port War Signal Station was built nearby in 1939. A fire-control radar tower was built here in 1943.

¤¤ ALSO: In 1943 a four-gun 3.7-inch AA battery was emplaced at Beaconsfield (West Saint John), and another four-gun 3.7-inch AA battery was emplaced at Loch Lomond, north of the airport. Eight sites were emplaced with single 40mm Bofors AA guns.

Western New Brunswick - page 1 | Eastern New Brunswick - page 2

QUESTIONS ? Please send any corrections and/or additions to this list to:
"Updates" at